Washington Navy Yard and Museum (A Visitor's Guide)

National Museum of the United States Navy
••• Tim Evanson / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Washington Navy Yard, the former shipyard for the United States Navy, serves as the home to the Chief of Naval Operations and is also headquarters for the Naval Historical Center in Washington, DC. Visitors can explore the Navy Museum and the Navy Art Gallery to learn about the Navy's history from the Revolutionary War to the present day. Although the Washington Navy Yard is off the beaten path from the rest of Washington, DC’s museums, it is one of the best attractions for families.

Please note that security is tight at this facility and there are restrictions on visitors. Visitors without military credentials will need to be vetted by the Visitor Center staff prior to entry Monday through Friday. Museum staff are not permitted to escort visitors on weekends. See more details about visiting below.

The Navy Museum at Washington Navy Yard offers interactive exhibits and displays naval artifacts, models, documents and fine art. Exhibits include model ships, undersea vehicles, sub periscopes, a space capsule, a decommissioned destroyer and much more. Special events are scheduled throughout the year including workshops, demonstrations, storytelling, and musical performances. The Navy Art Gallery displays the creative works of military artists.


9th and M Sts. SE, Building 76, Washington, DC

Visitors must enter the grounds at the 11th and O Street gate. The Washington Navy Yard is located along the Anacostia River near Nationals Park, DC's baseball stadium.

The neighborhood is in the midst of revitalization. The closest Metro station is Navy Yard. See a map. Parking is very limited on the Washington Navy Yard. Vehicle registration and proof of insurance or rental agreement are required to drive onto the base. Paid parking is also available in the lot adjacent to the Navy Yard at the intersection of 6th and M St SE gate.



Open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and 10am to 5pm on weekends and federal holidays.


Admission is free. Guided and self-guided tours are available upon request. Visitors must have either a Department of Defense Common Access Card; an Active Military, Retired Military, or Military Dependent ID; or an escort with one of these credentials. All visitors 18 and older must have a photo ID. Visitors can arrange a tour in advance by calling (202) 433-4882.

Navy Museum Galleries

  • The Forgotten Wars of the Nineteenth Century - The exhibits examine the Quasi-War with France & The Barbary Wars, The War of 1812 and the Mexican War.
  • Dive! Dive! U.S. Navy Submarines - The exhibit features interactive displays tracing the 200 year history of submarines in US. defense.
  • The American Revolution and the French Alliance - Artifacts include swords and firearms of the Revolutionary period, portraits of John Paul Jones, personal articles of the Continental Marines and more.
  • Navigation - See navigation devices such as quadrants, sextants, compasses and charts.
  • Civil War: Securing the Seas for Union Victory - This exhibit tells how the Union naval blockade, innovative technologies, and strong leadership propelled the Union to victory during the Civil War.
  • Spanish American War - This exhibit includes interesting artifacts examining the United States involvement in Spanish colonial conflict in Cuba, the Caribbean, and the Phillippines.
  • Polar Exploration - Artifacts showcase the Navy's exploration of the Artctic and Antarctic throughout history.
  • The U.S. Navy and World War I - The exhibit shows how the Navy contributed to the war through variety of interesting  artifacts.
  • The U.S. Navy and World War II - The museum boasts the largest and most comprehensive exhibit detailing the Navy's role in World War II. Divided into the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters, and the Home Front, the exhibit examines the conflict in chronological order.

Website: www.history.navy.mil

To learn about more things to do in the area, see 10 Things to Do on the Capitol Riverfront in Washington DC.